Amendment could have professors packing heat on college campuses

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A proposed amendment to an Arkansas law would make it so certain people pack heat on college campuses.

House Bill 1243 would let licensed and trained staff and faculty to carry a concealed handgun on a university, college or community college campus.

"The bill is trying to respond to something nationally that has happened that is quite frankly, very sad," Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs at ASU, Dr. Rick Stripling told Region 8 News.

The question, Dr. Stripling said, is whether or not allowing college level faculty and staff to carry concealed weapons is the right response to national tragedies.

"That's the part that's still debatable," Dr. Stripling said. "In the end, does this really work in our favor? Is this protection or does it also carry liability?"

Dr. Stripling explained that as this bill is still in the legislative limbo, it's not something the school has had a chance to sit down and discuss yet.

Student feedback, however, reached both ends of the spectrum.

Jackson Allen told Region 8 News he thought it was a good idea.

"Obviously after completing the course, they'd know how to use it and operate it and everything, so it wouldn't be a problem in that regard," Allen said."It'd allow them their own personal protection, which is a good thing."

Other students, like Zach Elledge, were indifferent to the proposed amendment

"It really wouldn't affect me one way or another because living in a rural community, even though Jonesboro isn't particularly rural, there are enough people that have concealed carry licenses that if you increase it to teachers, instructors and their staff, it really wouldn't make that much of a difference," Elledge said.

Shelby Tiner explained to Region 8 News why she was opposed to the amendment.

"Personally, I don't know the teachers that well, so I don't know if they're like crazy...if they got mad or something they could just pull it out so personally, I don't think I'd feel that comfortable."

Dr. Stripling told Region 8 News that regardless if the amendment passes, it'll still be up to the ASU Board of Trustees to interpret the law.

"If they want to support it in full, or some version of it or if they say we'll just stick with our current policy of no weapons on campus."

The amendment to the bill is on the agenda to go before the House Committee of Education on Wednesday.

Region 8 News will update you on what they do regarding the bill.

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